Navigating the Middle

through adolescents, menopause, aging parents & other flying debris



Day 19: The Long Good-Bye for B.

Tonight I was saddened to learn that B. Smith, the former model, restaurateur, and lifestyle guru has Alzheimer’s. She is only 64.

In case you are not familiar with Barbara, or B. as she is called, she was the first African-American woman to appear on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine in 1976. When her modeling career ended, she  became a restaurateur, with establishments in New York City, Sag Harbor, NY, and Washington D.C.

A few years back, I drove to the Union Station eatery to meet with sorority sisters that I hadn’t seen in (ahem) …decades. We chose the iconic restaurant more for its atmosphere than its food. I am glad we went. In 2013, the restaurant shuttered its doors after 20 years in business.

Watching the CBS Evening News was painful as B. unsuccessfully tried to recall the date and year. I have two very close friends whose mothers are either suffering with the condition or have recently succumb to it. The interview with B. and her husband and business partner, Dan Gasby, provided a glimpse into this incurable and cruel disease.

On January 27th, she Tweeted:

B. Smith @BSmithstyle

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Take on whatever is facing you this week with courage, faith and love!

I think she is pretty courageous for facing her illness and sharing her story with all of us. If you’d like to see the complete interview, it will air on “Sunday Morning” on June 15th, Father’s Day.






Day 27: Phenomenal Woman, phenomenal life

What can I say about this “treasure,” this woman of substance and insight. She was and will always be phenomenally,  “Phenomenal Woman.”

Listen to Dr. Maya Angelou’s May 2013 appearance on Super Soul Sunday (OWN)as she shares her words.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


by Maya Angelou, April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

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